When I was young, my sisters and I (there are four of us) always wore identical clothes and our hair were boy cuts to match the four-peas-in-a-pod concept of our parents. Once our hair grew longer below our shoulders, it had to be cut. Usually, it was I and my sister who came before me that wore identical clothes. Man, seeing the pictures now, the only difference was that I was wearing the skirt and she was wearing the pants. But yea, I am not blaming my parents because it was cute.. we looked adorable. Ha-ha. Anyway, the point is, that I think was the root of my wanting to be different.
Growing up, or at least by the time I entered college in a new city, I developed my own sense of style — I was no longer copying my sister’s fashion sense. My mom wasn’t really a fan of it. She did not like that I wore beanies; headbands that I turn into “forehead bands;” hair clips that were so cute (candies, ribbons, etc.); torn stockings; or tucking in every shirt in every outfit (may it be in pants; skirts; or shorts).
I remember the time when my grandmother died just a few years back. On the day of her burial, it was mandatory to wear just white top and wear pants. I came out of the room wearing a skirt and a white tee with a print on it. Mommy talked to me and asked me to change the whole thing. She said, everyone in the family was wearing pants and plain white top. I should change because I was the only one different. I changed into a pair of leggings but did not change the top. I told her I did not have any white top left in Lucena (which was a lie). Getting irritated with me, she insisted me to change it then gave me money to go to the mall and buy a plain white shirt. My father stepped in and told me to go and change. That was my last straw — I took out this plain white blouse (that I wasn’t comfortable wearing), and wore it. Then they stopped bugging me. Looking back at it now, I just wanted to prove that I was different and that I can wear anything I want, anytime I want to. But I think, I was out of line — we were grieving and the last thing my parents needed was a stubborn child.
As time passed by, my family now gets me. It took time ‘till they stopped questioning me on what I am wearing; what I’m listening to; what I’m reading; or anything I’m doing. It’s not that I am so different because I do stuff that normal people do too. I think it was my choice of things that they did not understand — why those choices are different from theirs or from a normal Lucena City teenager that is. They see me as weird but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I like it!
When we are in a new environment, definitely the first thing we want is to fit in. Earlier days of college, I just agreed to what my old and new friends wanted and went with the flow: eat at McDonald’s (when what I really wanted was to eat at KFC); drink and smoke (when all I wanted was to talk and connect); go here and there (when all I really wanted was to be nowhere). It took time to realize that I didn’t really want to do the stuff they were doing all the time. It was hard to say no because they might think and talk about me badly. I figured it was a make-believe I was telling myself. I was too scared of what others might think that I did not speak up.
Now, when I don’t feel like hanging out, I say no. If these people really care about me they would understand. So if they’re talking behind my back, it’s not my problem. It dawned on me that it takes courage to say no when everyone is saying yes. It made me my own person, instead of depending on one’s answer/decision. What I learned from our Marketing course is that you can’t be everything to everyone; if you try to be, you’ll become nothing. It’s about knowing who your target audience is. I think mine is myself plus the people who understand me.
I now know that some people (or most people) will not appreciate what I do or what I appreciate, and that’s all right. I learned that I can’t keep on compromising what I do just because other’s don’t like it. If I do, there will be nothing left of me. I’m just going to be the product of other’s expectations and that would be a big lie.
When you are finally getting in touch with your inner-self, there will be people who will stop you and tell you, “No, you can’t be different! That’s not a good thing.” We live in a world where we grow up being taught that this world has rules and we all should follow it. If not, you’d be scrutinized, judged, stepped on, laughed at, and such horrible things. There will be people who will stop you from being different because really, they couldn’t take seeing someone who had the courage to step up and do his own thing (something they wish they did). We all have crazies, some people are just not feeding theirs.
Being different doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone but being different makes you feel better about yourself. It’s (finally) having a clear vision of what you want and don’t want; what you stand for and what you don’t; what you care about and what you don’t care about.
Being different and embracing it means being free from worries about what others are thinking of you. Being different is becoming your own person and not other’s puppet. Being different and embracing it takes a lot of willpower and work because it kind of means you against the world. But then it’s very liberating to be different and that is what you should be pursuing.